Minimal Spanning Trees

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The Muddy City

Networks are everywhere in modern society: roads, wires, water and gas pipes all connect one place to another. Computers are built of networks at many levels, from the microscopic connections between transistors in a chip to the cables and satellites that link the internet around the world. People who build networks often need to work out the most efficient way to make connections, which can be a difficult problem.

This puzzle shows students the decisions involved in linking a network between houses in a muddy city. It can lead on to a discussion of minimal spanning tree algorithms for optimizing networks.

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